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Title: PR and CSR : Malaysian perspectives
Author: Ahmad, Zeti Azreen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 7283
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis presents an empirical inquiry that explicitly exposes the relationships between CSR practice in Malaysia and the scope of PR. This thesis embraced a critical approach which offers alternate readings in Malaysian PR literature which are dominantly quantitative in nature. The focus is on how socio-political, economic, cultural and organizational contexts shape the practice of CSR and affect the scope and function of PR in pursuing the practice. This thesis has contributed to the literature by providing empirical evidence of the underlying motives behind the pursuit of CSR among businesses in the country. It also offers empirical data on PR roles in pursuing CSR in Malaysia – something that has received very little attention in the literature despite PR’s perceived potentials in spearheading the function. This empirical work has employed semi-structured interviews among PR managers and CSR managers working in renowned CSR organizations in Malaysia. In addition, the thesis analyses executives’ messages in CSR reports and later triangulated with interview findings that helped to achieve a rich description of the topic under study. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) was adopted in this thesis and made explicit the relationships between socio-political, economic and cultural dimensions that shape CSR practice and the scope of PR by taking into consideration the presence of power relations in this phenomenon. Fairclough’s (2010) three dimensional frameworks was adopted to enable interpretation go beyond texts that mainly applied to data from CSR reports. The literature revealed CSR practice is a recent phenomenon in Malaysia whereby the government has been a major driver in its development. Drawing from Malaysian experience, economic growth is fundamental to ensure a fair distribution of wealth among multi-races in Malaysia that perceived imperative to preserve national unity. In this respect, CSR initiatives have been largely undertaken to achieve the long term survival of businesses that consequently drive the nation’s economy in a long term. CSR has been primarily constructed as a means to create business competitiveness and a symbol for success. This has been widely accepted among business firms in Malaysia thus become ideological. At the same time, PR role was found dominant in promoting the practice of CSR that appears to be working to the advantage of the dominant groups i.e., business and government. Nevertheless, how PR promotes mutual interests of business and society through CSR remain obscure. This thesis also argues that the motivation to promote business interests serves as the key stumbling block for PR in creating sustainable impact and value to other than it paymaster and financial stakeholders. This thesis suggests that it is time for PR to reflect on this common practice particularly in terms of its ethical implications to both the organizations and the value of PR profession as a whole. This empirical study has significantly contributed particularly in the realm of PR role research in CSR within specific social-cultural, political, economic contexts of Malaysia and PR research from the critical perspectives.
Supervisor: L'Etang, Jacquie; Amy-Chinn, D. Sponsor: Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE) ; International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Public relations(PR) ; Corporate social responsibility (CSR) ; critical perspective ; critical discourse analysis (CDA) ; business case ; nation building ; Public relations Malaysia ; Social responsibility of business Malaysia